University vs Self Taught Game Development

Trying to decide if you should learn to make games yourself or enrol in formal studies? Here are a few pointers to aid you in your direction of choice.

Cost

Self taught definitely has some advantages when it comes to costs, at your local library you can not only find books on software development but gain free access to Lynda dot com which is a great place for beginner learning. They have a wide range of courses specially designed for beginners.

University on the other hand can be very expensive, however if your one destiny in life is to make games then it may be worth getting a student loan, etc and making it work. I wouldn't write it off purely on price.

Verdict - self taught 5/5, University 3/5

Quality of Education

While finding the right course can be hit and miss, when you hit, you hit good. There is an absolute treasure trove of information online and it covers everything at a level of complexity consistent with where you are up to.

University education tends to be a little further behind latest standards but not by much, also you get hands on help and structure. Which can be useful if you aren't very good at structuring your own learning. You can still get one on one help online, a lot of course creators (including myself) are open to chatting on discord or skype if people are really struggling.

Verdict - self taught 4/5, University 4/5

Networking

The old saying "It's not what you know but who you know" is still very valid, while there are some solo devs who have made amazing games, most of us need help.

For this point, University is at a huge advantage by putting you in contact with lots of people who have similar experience and also connecting you with game studios and networking events so you can meet people to potentially work with.

A lot of the best game studios were founded by university friends who decided to start their own studio.

When you are self taught, you miss this experience. That doesn't write you off but it does make it harder.

Verdict - self taught 2/5, University 5/5

Summary

Both learning paths work. If you choose the path of University don't do it just to learn to code, do it to meet smart people to work with. If you choose the path of being self-taught you will need to work extra hard to meet people but you still can through various conferences and meet-ups. 

Please comment to tell me what path you are on and what your experience has been so far :)